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Flyers' wives bring cancer fight to New York City

by Adam Kimelman /

Flyers' wives Holly Cote and Cara Umberger stop shopping to pose for a photo for
For more than 30 years, the wives of the Philadelphia Flyers have done their part to raise money for research and awareness of cancer.

A number of the wives of players and management staff took a tour of New York City Wednesday, including a stop at the new NHL Store at the corner of 6th Avenue and 47th Street, to promote the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer campaign and the team’s signature charitable endeavor, the Flyers’ Wives Fight For Lives Carnival.

The Carnival is the most successful one-day charity event hosted by a team in one of the four major sports, raising more than $20 million for Philadelphia-area charities. Chief among them is the Barry Ashbee Research Laboratory at Hahnemann Hospital, which specializes in cancer research. Ashbee was a Flyers defenseman from the “Broad Street Bullies” era who succumbed to leukemia in 1977.

“We’re fortunate enough that we have our names and our husband’s names to get out the awareness of cancer,” said Heather Hatcher, wife of defenseman Derian Hatcher. “I have a lot of good friends who are (cancer) survivors.”

As part of the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, the NHL sent the Flyers’ Wives pink hats and pins, which were sold at a recent Flyers home game. That money, plus $10 from every ticket sold that night, went to the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign.

“We wanted to bring more awareness to our efforts, the Philadelphia Flyers’ charities, and our efforts we’ve had over the last 30 years to raise money for cancer research,” said Doreen Holmgren, wife of Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren. “This being October and Cancer Awareness month, we wanted to do something in conjunction with the NHL.”

Hence the visit to New York and the new NHL store, located on the ground floor of the League’s new office space.

The carnival gives fans the opportunity to meet and have their pictures taken with their favorite current and former Flyers, as well as win prizes ranging from cars and motorcycles to autographed jerseys. There also are carnival games, like a dunk tank, and the chance for youngsters to shoot on a real, professional goalie.

The 31st edition of the event will be held Feb. 28, 2008, at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, and more than 100 charities will benefit from the event, including Hockey Fights Cancer. Last year’s carnival raised about $1.2 million.

“We want to do whatever we can to help the NHL promote cancer awareness,” said Holmgren. “It’s a neat relationship we have going on here.”


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